Today marks the 9th week since our third baby was born, and while I’m struggling to believe it wasn’t just yesterday that we were in the hospital together, each day has brought a sense of newness all it’s own.
I’ve been thinking for the past few weeks about how I want to share the story of his birth. While it wouldn’t be remarkable to most people, it was one of the most profound moments of my life.
I spent the day before I went into active labor running around from a meeting on 5th avenue to a hair appointment at Bergdorf Goodman. I was out nearly the entire day, tying up loose ends and trying to find a few moments of peace by myself, knowing that they would be the last for a very long time. This adventure out included a trip to my OB so that he could check my progress. At only 1 cm dilated, I was told nothing would be happening for a few days at least. Given my history with prodromal labor (basically non-productive labor) I ended up out until 8:00 pm that night just busying myself to distract from what I thought were Braxton Hicks.
I didn’t sleep that night. The contractions got progressively more painful but never closer than 8 minutes apart. The morning continued on as usual-I still wasn’t expecting to actually be in full blown labor until the evening, so we started the preschool drop-off’s and Justin headed to school to take a final.
By 3:15 in the afternoon, the contractions started hitting back to back. Justin was home, but we didn’t have anyone to watch the kids. Not knowing anything but what my body was telling me, I scrambled to find a sitter and when she arrived, we literally jumped into the cab that she came in and fled to the hospital.
My water broke the moment I set foot into the emergency room, and I was wheeled up to Labor & Delivery (not nearly fast enough).
This entire period of time-all 7 or 8 minutes of it-were some of the most terrifying moments of my life. Not only have I never experienced my water breaking on it’s own, but I have never given birth without pain medication. I wasn’t able to say goodbye to my children or even prepare them for us leaving. I didn’t want to deliver our son in a taxi, but that was a very, very real scenario and I knew it.
I can’t really describe in words how Beau came into this world. Delivering a child fully unmedicated was an experience that I completely believed I wasn’t fully capable of. And, after a couple of years of feeling guilty and robbed because of it, I finally came to peace with the fact that I simply must have a low pain threshold. This child’s birth was so completely different from the other two; I screamed and groaned and even yelled an obscenity during the mad rush that took place getting me from the ER to Labor and Delivery. It was chaotic and loud and unbelievably intense for the full 8 minutes I was preparing to deliver.
Beau was born in a flash after two pushes, and the feeling of peace and triumph and jubilance flooded though my veins and bounced off of the walls like rainbows in that stale hospital room.
It was a completely ethereal (and yes, very painful) experience.
I’ve been changed by the births of each of my children, and each one a little more than the first. Seeing my babies holding their siblings and gazing into each other’s eyes makes my heart beat stronger and swifter than I ever thought possible.